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Nokia’s legal action potentially massively damaging to their reputation

Nokia’s name is already mud in Silicon Valley, for a whole range of different reasons. For a large part, many people misunderstand the company, it’s reach, size, pedigree — and find it extremely easy to completely dismiss.

Whilst in the Valley, I’ve seen many a senior Nokia (or Symbian) executive, accustomed to being treated with a certain level of deference, being snubbed either unwittingly or in some cases deliberately. Snubbed by the media, by the tech elite and by the developers.

The fact that the company shifts BUCKETLOADS of handsets and is still one of the largest players on the planet is entirely lost on most of Silicon Valley.

The company was at best overlooked and at worst deemed irrelevant.

Silicon Valley is the centre of the mobile planet. That’s not going to change for some time. And when the centre of the Universe keeps forgetting you, that’s not good news. But it’s not a critical problem.

Not until you do the equivalent of burning the Silicon Valley poster child.

Yes. Nokia is suing Apple.

All of a sudden, University Avenue, Palo Alto, is alive with furious Tweeters telling their networks exactly what they think of Nokia.

There are far-reaching ramifications to Nokia’s offensive against Apple.

When I read the news on the BBC, I immediately switched over to the bible of Silicon Valley: TechCrunch.

“Goodness me,” I thought to myself, “TechCrunch will either flail Nokia-alive, or not bother even to mention it.”

It’s the former.

John Biggs of CrunchBase fires both barrels over at Nokia. The headline?

Nokia Takes Apple To Court. If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Sue ‘Em.

John finishes his post with this explanation:

Nokia has been struggling to gain traction in the high-end phone market now that we live in an iPhone world and this may be a last ditch effort to derail futre models or, assuming they’re going for a bit more mercenary approach, cash in on some of the iPhone’s success.

I guarantee Rafe Blandford of All About Symbian is right now banging his forehead on the desk at this analysis.

But John’s language is an accurate representation of a lot of the Valley opinion that I’ve been able to measure this afternoon.

The Silicon Valley Insider goes slightly further:

Lame Nokia Sues Apple Over iPhone Patent Infringement

The Insider’s Jay Yarow is decidedly unimpressed by the move:

Yawn.

Nokia should focus on trying to build a better product.

I do like Jay’s perspective: build a better product.

I understand Nokia has to vigorously protect it’s intellectual assets — especially in the face of a competitor who is — allegedly — not playing ball.

A lot of people are going to view the action as case of incredibly expensive ‘sour grapes’.

Please don’t take your eye off the ball, Nokia.

45 replies on “Nokia’s legal action potentially massively damaging to their reputation”

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Ok, I just had another though on this. If Nokia were to lose the case (which knowing Apple I believe they could*) surely that would open the doors to other manufacturers not having to licence from them. I'm not a legal expert so I could be wrong but it would set a precedent.

It seems from reading articles all over the web that Nokia are certainly being hammered over this.

* I cant believe that if Apple didn't think they had a good case they wouldn't have paid up from the outset. I also predict their may be some counter cases being raised over UI & Multi-touch patents.

Oh dear, now we see who's flying the iPhone colours from their mast (or in other words, who the iPhone lovers are).

> Silicon Valley is the centre of the mobile planet.
Oh dear again. I'm really very surprised to read this Ewan, given your knowledge and experience. All I will say is, I've read or heard the opinions of a lot (a LOT) of global mobile industry experts in a variety of forums (online and offline) and I know VERY few that would agree with you. And if you don't understand why, well, now is not the time or place (or space) to explain.

Anyway, as for the opinions of Crunchbase, Silicon Valley Insider et al. Really, what do you expect? How could they react any differently? American pride has been stung! Geek pride has been stung! The American love and pride in iPhone – saviour of America from all the crap mobiles they've put up with for years – has been stung! Americans can't take this! Especially not from a *Scandinavian* (yucky yucky) company (that's part of 'Oo-rup' ain't it, y'all?).

Come on. Ewan you simply must be brighter, sharper and more knowledgeable than that. In fact I know you are. Please don't tell me you seriously think that the American mobile industry, and more to the point, the opinions of the blinkered US centric companies and bloggers out there is actually THAT important on a global scale? It's a little bit important sure, but only a little bit.

Nokia are absolutely bang on right to give Apple a damn good thrashing for this, and it's just sad (really -sad) to see all the myopic blinkered blind iPhone-lover's self righteous indignation (referring to the blogs you mention and any like them). I mean seriously.

Who on earth CARES what some US bloggers think? As if it MATTERED? (It really doesn't).

Sorry if I have misunderstood and mobileindustryreview is in fact a US-centric blog written by a proud US citizen. That would explain everything – the inexplicable levels of iPhone love, the Android love etc. But I kind of thought, and hoped, it was written by a Brit with a balanced global market view. Having read your recent articles, I'm beginning to wonder.

Great work Nokia. Just as Nokia should pay heavily if they infringed Apple's patents, so the reverse is completely true. Regardless of how many iPhone lovers it offends.

Hi Ewan,
what do you think your reputation would be if you post something where you contradict yourself within 3 lines? So, you say that in the Valley Nokia is “snubbed by the media, by the tech elite and by the developers” which should be equivalent to say that Nokia is worth 0 in the valley… actually you also say “at worst deemed irrelevant”… Isn't this a contradiction to “*massively* damaging to their reputation”…there's not a lot of damage you can do if you are worth zero, don't you think? Without coming across as patronising, i believe people contradict themself when they either don't have clarify of thought or when what they want to say is different to what they can say… do you think any of the two above reflect your situation? 😉

My small opinion would be to change the name “mobile industry review” because the current title sets the wrong expectations… Reviews are not biased and usually well researched… Won't comment on the latter but judging from your last 7 posts on Nokia I can definitely say that you are a little bit biased…

Nokia’s legal action potentially massively damaging to their reputation
Going shopping at the Nokia Ovi Store: Dire
Calling all Nokia & Symbian geniuses: Am I wrong?
The future is dire for Nokia & Symbian applications: Dead by 2012?
Nokia N900 and BBC iPlayer – it’s bad news folks!
Using the N900’s linux terminal mode
Why the Nokia N900 is No Better Than an HTC Mogul — Updated
Video: Nokia N900 running Google Wave

-Reda

I'm thoroughly enjoying your responses Alex and I really do appreciate you taking the time to put down your thoughts.

First question: Where do you think the centre of the mobile industry then, Alex? Berlin? Paris? London? Seoul? (and, er, leave out Japan… as they're in another dimension)

My contention is that Silicon Valley is now extremely, extremely influential in the mobile industry. Just 2 years ago, I'd have said it was a glint in the milkman's eye.

Apple's iPhone and Google's Android are just some flipping massive examples of the influence the region is wielding. There are tons more.

Upsetting the 'proud Americans' as you're describing them, changing their attention from disinterest to ire, no… that's not a good strategy at all. These are passionate people with extensive resources and a penchant for thinking big and relishing the Gordon Gekko attitude of simply demolishing your competition.

If it's a genuine patent dispute and not a misaligned attempt at public relations, great. If it's anything else, ridiculous.

Reda, I'm always delighted to hear from Nokia Siemens Networks. Thanks for taking the time to post.

I'm definitely not biased against Nokia per se. What you're reading here in this post is my opinion. I would have thought that patently clear given the fact I didn't reference any specific sources and I frequently used generalisations and wide descriptions.

I see you had a look at the last 7 Nokia posts. Indeed that's a heck of a lot of time that you've spent cutting and pasting headlines. You missed this one:

http://mobileindustry.wpengine.com/2009/10/abs

That's the highest trafficked post on the site this month by far. And it indicates I'm a massive, massive fan of Nokia (if occasionally a frustrated one).

And I think Nokia Siemens Networks does a pretty good job too.

Do you think for a moment that if Apple thought they could sue somebody and win that they would not go for it? Unfortunately companies suing each over over silly / trival features is the nature of the system. Blame patent lawyers.

Ok, I just had another though on this. If Nokia were to lose the case (which knowing Apple I believe they could*) surely that would open the doors to other manufacturers not having to licence from them. I'm not a legal expert so I could be wrong but it would set a precedent.

It seems from reading articles all over the web that Nokia are certainly being hammered over this. PR disaster.

* I cant believe that if Apple didn't think they had a good case they wouldn't have paid up from the outset. I also predict their may be some counter cases being raised over UI & Multi-touch patents.

Oh dear, now we see who's flying the iPhone colours from their mast (or in other words, who the iPhone lovers are).

> Silicon Valley is the centre of the mobile planet.
Oh dear again. I'm really very surprised to read this Ewan, given your knowledge and experience. All I will say is, I've read or heard the opinions of a lot (a LOT) of global mobile industry experts in a variety of forums (online and offline) and I know VERY few that would agree with you. And if you don't understand why, well, now is not the time or place (or space) to explain.

Anyway, as for the opinions of Crunchbase, Silicon Valley Insider et al. Really, what do you expect? How could they react any differently? American pride has been stung! Geek pride has been stung! The American love and pride in iPhone – saviour of America from all the crap mobiles they've put up with for years – has been stung! Americans can't take this! Especially not from a *Scandinavian* (yucky yucky) company (that's part of 'Oo-rup' ain't it, y'all?).

Come on. Ewan you simply must be brighter, sharper and more knowledgeable than that. In fact I know you are. Please don't tell me you seriously think that the American mobile industry, and more to the point, the opinions of the blinkered US centric companies and bloggers out there is actually THAT important on a global scale? It's a little bit important sure, but only a little bit.

Nokia are absolutely bang on right to give Apple a damn good thrashing for this, and it's just sad (really -sad) to see all the myopic blinkered blind iPhone-lover's self righteous indignation (referring to the blogs you mention and any like them). I mean seriously.

Who on earth CARES what some US bloggers think? As if it MATTERED? (It really doesn't).

Sorry if I have misunderstood and mobileindustryreview is in fact a US-centric blog written by a proud US citizen. That would explain everything – the inexplicable levels of iPhone love, the Android love etc. But I kind of thought, and hoped, it was written by a Brit with a balanced global market view. Having read your recent articles, I'm beginning to wonder.

Great work Nokia. Just as Nokia should pay heavily if they infringed Apple's patents, so the reverse is completely true. Regardless of how many iPhone lovers it offends.

Hi Ewan,
what do you think your reputation would be if you post something where you contradict yourself within 3 lines? So, you say that in the Valley Nokia is “snubbed by the media, by the tech elite and by the developers” which should be equivalent to say that Nokia is worth 0 in the valley… actually you also say “at worst deemed irrelevant”… Isn't this a contradiction to “*massively* damaging to their reputation”…there's not a lot of damage you can do if you are worth zero, don't you think? Without coming across as patronising, i believe people contradict themself when they either don't have clarify of thought or when what they want to say is different to what they can say… do you think any of the two above reflect your situation? 😉

My small opinion would be to change the name “mobile industry review” because the current title sets the wrong expectations… Reviews are not biased and usually well researched… Won't comment on the latter but judging from your last 7 posts on Nokia I can definitely say that you are a little bit biased…

Nokia’s legal action potentially massively damaging to their reputation
Going shopping at the Nokia Ovi Store: Dire
Calling all Nokia & Symbian geniuses: Am I wrong?
The future is dire for Nokia & Symbian applications: Dead by 2012?
Nokia N900 and BBC iPlayer – it’s bad news folks!
Using the N900’s linux terminal mode
Why the Nokia N900 is No Better Than an HTC Mogul — Updated
Video: Nokia N900 running Google Wave

-Reda

I'm thoroughly enjoying your responses Alex and I really do appreciate you taking the time to put down your thoughts.

First question: Where do you think the centre of the mobile industry then, Alex? Berlin? Paris? London? Seoul? (and, er, leave out Japan… as they're in another dimension)

My contention is that Silicon Valley is now extremely, extremely influential in the mobile industry. Just 2 years ago, I'd have said it was a glint in the milkman's eye.

Apple's iPhone and Google's Android are just some flipping massive examples of the influence the region is wielding. There are tons more.

Upsetting the 'proud Americans' as you're describing them, changing their attention from disinterest to ire, no… that's not a good strategy at all. These are passionate people with extensive resources and a penchant for thinking big and relishing the Gordon Gekko attitude of simply demolishing your competition.

If it's a genuine patent dispute and not a misaligned attempt at public relations, great. If it's anything else, ridiculous.

Reda, I'm always delighted to hear from Nokia Siemens Networks. Thanks for taking the time to post.

I'm definitely not biased against Nokia per se. What you're reading here in this post is my opinion. I would have thought that patently clear given the fact I didn't reference any specific sources and I frequently used generalisations and wide descriptions.

I see you had a look at the last 7 Nokia posts. Indeed that's a heck of a lot of time that you've spent cutting and pasting headlines. You missed this one:

http://mobileindustry.wpengine.com/2009/10/abs

That's the highest trafficked post on the site this month by far. And it indicates I'm a massive, massive fan of Nokia (if occasionally a frustrated one).

And I think Nokia Siemens Networks does a pretty good job too.

Do you think for a moment that if Apple thought they could sue somebody and win that they would not go for it? Unfortunately companies suing each over over silly / trival features is the nature of the system. Blame patent lawyers.

My previous response was actually signed as “Reda” not Nokia Siemens Network nor did I say that I spoke on their behalf. So I'm not quite sure what you mean by “I'm always delighted to hear from Nokia Siemens Networks”.
-Reda

Just because Silicon Valley thinks something is right.. doesn't mean it is. Isn't this just one of the more blatant expression of not invented here syndrome?

Isn't the reaction to the news more a reflection of a lack of objectivity in the online media when it comes to anything Apple? Nokia spent around $7 bn in R&D last year – Apple spent $1 bn. If you turned this around the same media would be baying for others blood and saying it was only right for Apple to defend its innovation.

I do actually think this could still be an issue, but it is important to mistake perception for fact.

And no I don't think Silicon Valley is the centre of mobile – you *might* make a case for it being an important centre for software / services in mobile, but that only one part of the mobile industry (visible for sure). Android and Google Mobile is often cited here, but a lot of the development work for this takes place in London and other Google centres.

Incidentally London could make a decent case as a centre – Symbian is based there, as in LiMo – you can add in Sony Ericsson too and most of the big mobile manufacturers have some sort of base in or near London… but to be honest I really don't think there is any one centre.

> Where do you think the centre of the mobile industry then,

As everyone well knows there is no centre, it's shared between all places to varying degrees and depending on what aspect of mobile you're talking about. For example, Africa is far and away the lead in mobile banking at the moment.

This syncophantic kow-towing to America which, as it ever has been, is loud, brash, gung ho, wham bang thank you ma'am, self centred and self important, is doing you and your reputation not the slightest bit of good Ewan. Of course, iPhone lovers will side with you, but really giving that sort of credibility and importance to the American mobile industry, and those daft, daft, ignorant bloggers is just utter nonsense.

Just to keep my argument on track I will say (sigh) that I have nothing against America per se, blah blah.

But I am strongly against nonsense and hype, and pro accuracy and truth. The sun does NOT shine out of Silicon Valley's butt and I'm afraid you appear to have the rather skewed impression it does.

I think and hope your objectivity and sense of reality is saveable though 😉

Oh and as a parting shot I will say that it is most definitely not Apple (and likely not Android without radical improvement in distribution and sales) that will bring better UIs and touch (etc etc) to the masses. It will be Nokia, through and through, for the short, medium and long term. BUT it will because Apple gave them the competition they have.

While it looks like sour grapes on the part of Nokia, let's be clear how this will play out: after Apple's and Nokia's lawyers go round and round on this topic for several months, they will come to agreement. Apple will pay some lump sum to Nokia and come to some royalty agreement where Apple will pay Nokia a small percentage on each handset sold.

In short: nothing appreciable changes for us, the end users of said product, except the price. You know Apple will find a way to pass that extra cost onto us, the consumers.

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